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ITU-APT joint spectrum conference with University of Chicago and IIT Delhi, ISMC-23 concludes after 3 days of hectic discussions on key spectrum opportunities and challenges

IAFI (ITU- APT Foundation of India), along with the University of Chicago, USA, SpectrumX, University of Notre Dame USA and IIT Delhi jointly hosted the joint Indo-US conference on Spectrum and Telecommunications Policy for Future Wireless Systems: “The 3rd India Spectrum Management Conference” in New Delhi India” (ISMC-23) from 16th to 18th October 2023.

The formal inauguration of the three-day Indo-US conference was on 17th October in Le Meridien, New Delhi. It was flagged off by Shri Bharat Bhatia, President, IAFI with a welcome address. This session had an impressive list of dignitaries and chief guests included Dr. Monisha Ghosh, Professor, Electrical Engineering, University of Notre Dame, USA; Prof Rajeev Shorey, Professor, IIT Delhi, India; Shri V J Christopher, Wireless Advisor to the Govt. of India; Mr. Charles Cooper, Associate Administrator, Office of Spectrum Management, NTIA, USA; Smt. Gunjan Dave, Member Technology, Digital Communications Commission (DCC), DoT, Govt. of India; Shri Manish Sinha, Member, Finance, Digital Communications Commission (DCC), DoT, Govt. of India.

Addressing nearly 150 guests from the field of telecommunication both nationally and internationally, conference Chief Guest Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology (DST) commended the joint conference’s effort in providing a robust platform for comprehensive discussion on spectrum Policy, planning and sharing opportunities along economic utilization of 6 GHz Band among others. He stated that India has emerged as a successful example of developing and deploying indigenous technologies in the roll out of 4G and 5G services and contributing to global wireless standard to enable affordable rural broadband connectivity. And going forward, he pointed out that significant progress and deliberations on space and satellite technology and the government’s initiative towards Bharat 6G alliance would lead to more research, exploration, and pooling in of resources for better and efficient spectrum management in the national interest of the country.

Shri Manish Sinha, Member Finance, DCC India supported the need for collaboration, discussion and deliberation on spectrum issues, challenges, maintaining balance of technologies, strong regulation among others to further push India’s unmatched developmental speed in pushing for digital growth.

Smt. Gunjan Dave further outlined the critical role of DoT in bridging the digital divide gap since spectrum is a critical component in ubiquitous connectivity.

Taking an international view, Mr. Charles Cooper highlighted that USA’s major spectrum initiative is to protect the incumbent users from harmful interference. For US, Spectrum sharing has been a useful strategy for increasing the efficiency of spectrum management.

Today’s session on 5G spectrum auctions was a power packed panel with speakers from all four mobile operators in India- airtel, Vodaphone, jio and BSNL and all three regulators- DoT, WPC and TRAI. The discussions revolved around issues like for this Next spectrum auctions, the challenges, strategies and way forward including cabinet’s decision to hold auctions each year. The session also discussed advanced PPDR/CNPN and the role it plays in automation and industry 4.0 by providing secure, ultra-reliable, low latency and high throughput communication using advanced technologies and the Limitations of existing Narrowband PPDR networks, Interoperability among various agencies, Inefficient use of Spectrum and spectrum allocation among others. Speaking at the Session on 5G spectrum Auctions today morning, Mr. Gulab Chand, Joint Wireless Advisor, WPC Wing revealed that DoT will initaite auction of 10 frequency bands in the next 5G auctions to be held during the current fiscal year based on the reserve prices from TRAI recommendations of 2022.These include 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3400 MHz and 26GHz. The reserve price will be based on previous TRAI recommendation, as clarified by Mr. V Raghunandan, Secretary TRAI.

The day 1 (16th Oct) of the conference was held in UChicago Delhi Center. After a welcome address by Shree Bhatia and keynote speeches, that day’s event was divided into 3 sessions. These included diving into Spectrum planning for Sub-1 GHz and the pivotal role it plays in direct broadcast of television channels to mobiles, Program Making and Studio Equipment (PMSE) as well as the new 600 MHz cellular mobile bands. The subsequent sessions discussed Spectrum Studies and issues in 7 – 24 GHz which involved topics like propagation, Massive MIMO: Giga MIMO in 12 GHz band, Antennas/ RF Front ends, SDRs and Spectrum Studies towards mWave/THz bands where THz communications, Joint Communications and Sensing-JCAS was discussed.

The Day 2 (17th Oct) and Day 3(18th Oct) further addressed spectrum policy and sharing opportunities in 1- 6 GHz, Wi-Fi, automated driving using CV2X, Spectrum Sharing with Defence services, 5G spectrum issues with aircraft, 5G spectrum for Industries, new technologies and spectrum sharing for more efficient use of spectrum.

Since the ultimate desired outcome for all stakeholders is to ensure connectivity at every door at affordable prices. The session on Bharat 6G Alliance addressed, critical questions relating to the trajectory of 6G such as 6G Spectrum, spectrum sharing and whether 6G spectrum can be “Sharing Native” and metrics like how it should be different from 5G, 6G and AI and how can 6G be “AI Native”. The participants in the session also discussed 6G and the digital divide and 6G terrestrial and satellite convergence and 6G and Open RAN. They also discussed the deployment of the fifth generation of optical networks and the potential for a sixth generation supporting 5G.

The session on planning and economic utilization of 6 GHz Band, in particular the interplay between WIFI and Mobile services addressed questions such as the importance of the 6GHz spectrum band for meeting the increasing demand for Wi-Fi services in India, and what potential benefits can it bring to consumers and businesses, sharing issues between WiFi and satellite services in India and the international best practices or lessons learned from other countries’ experiences with the 6GHz spectrum that India can adopt in its spectrum management strategy.

To give a deeper sense the session on Satellite Licensing Policy, deliberated on the spectrum policies for satellite communication in India. The session focused on the issues raised in the TRAI consultation on spectrum for space services. Comparison of the regulatory practices and policies for spectrum allocation and pricing in different countries, identification of the challenges and opportunities for satellite communications in India and the development of a way forward for the allocation and pricing of spectrum for satellite communications in India.

The Spectrum planning and economic utilization of 6 GHz Band session examined spectrum sharing incumbents (satellites and fixed links), unlicensed (WiFi6e), licensed or hybrid. It broadly covered areas about spectrum management and assignment, with a focus on the 6GHz band, specifically 5925-6425 MHz band. It also looked at spectrum monitoring, with a focus on Wi-Fi and its potential in India. The importance of this band and the potential for controversy regarding its use was debated also Alan Norman, Director of Public Policy at Meta, talked about the potential of this band for 6G expansion and the challenges of indoor deployment. The panel of eminent speakers also discussed the potential of augmented reality and virtual reality in this band. The session also had speakers conferring on the need for more public Wi-Fi and more licensed spectrum for Wi-Fi in India.

Also, with WRC 23 conference slated in November in Dubai, there were discussions on its Preparatory activities including WRC-23 and WRC-27 dialog for terrestrial as well as satellite agenda items. Two insightful sessions on WRC-23 and WRC-27 terrestrial and satellite Agenda Items was focused on key agenda items which hold great importance in shaping the future of terrestrial and satellite communications. The event was marked by several eminent speakers and panelists in their respective fields of expertise. They include Mr. Charles Cooper, Associate Administrator, Office of Spectrum Management, NTIA, USA; Shri VJ Christopher, Wireless Advisor to the Govt. of India; Ms. Madeleine Noland, President, Advanced Television Systems Committee Inc., USA; Mr. Prashant Maru, VP, Sales & Biz dev, Saankhya Labs Pvt. Ltd; Mr. Prakash Moorut, Global Head of Spectrum & Regulatory Affairs, Shure Incorporated, USA; Dr. Vinosh Babu James, Director, Technical Standards, Qualcomm, India; Mr. Rajeev Kumar, Director (Engg), Doordarshan, India; Dr. Dhananjay Gore, Vice President of Engineering and Head of Qualcomm Research, India; Dr. Adrish Banerjee, Next Generation Broadcasting, Chair Professor, IIT Kanpur, India; Prof. KJ Vinoy, Professor, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India; Mr. Stuart Cooke, Chair of the GSA’s Global Spectrum Team, UK; Dr. Rohit Kapoor, Principal Manager, Qualcomm, India; Prof. Josep Jornet, Professor, Northeastern University & Director, Ultrabroadband Nano-networking (UN) Laboratory, USA; Prof. Ranjan Mallik, Institute Chair Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Delhi; Prof. Anand Srivastava, Professor, Director, (IIIT Delhi Incubation Center); Prof. A. Chockalingam, IISC, Bangalore; Dr. Hanumantha Rao, Director General, Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER), MeitY, India; Mr. Rajiv Gupta, Astrome; Mr. Vishy Ramaswamy, Vice President, 5G & Digital Solutions, Tata Communications, India; Dr. Punit Rathod, Lead Technical Standards, Qualcomm, India; Dr. Sendil Kumar Devar, Director, Standards and Spectrum, Ericsson, India; Shri L C Mangal, Outstanding Scientist & Director, DEAL, DRDO, Dehradun; Mr. Vikram Tiwathia, COAI; Lt Col VS Velan, CTO, Elena Geo Systems Pvt Ltd, India; Mr. Nadeem Akhtar, Staff Product Manager, Tarana Wireless, India; Mr. Jatin Parekh, Head of Wi-Fi Product Management, Arista Networks, India; Ms. Sofi, ISRO; Prof. Anand Baswade, Assistant Professor, IIT Bhilai, India; Ms. Revathi Mannepalli, Joint Wireless Advisor (WPC), DoT; India to name a few.

CT Bureau

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